Claudette hits Florida; Ana approaches Puerto RIco; Bill becomes our first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:10 PM GMT on August 17, 2009

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Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall at about 1:15 am EDT near the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just southeast of Fort Walton Beach in Florida. Claudette's top winds were around 50 mph. A Personal Weather Station in Eastpoint, FL recorded sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 66 mph last night. So far, the rain from Claudette has had a tough time penetrating inland (Figure 2). Heavy rains of 3 - 4 inches have been confined to a narrow strip of coast, and Claudette is unlikely to cause any major flooding. Apalachicola received just over 4 inches of rain so far from Claudette. Radar animations out of the Florida Panhandle show that heavy rains continue along the coast in association with a main spiral band of Claudette, and these rains will gradually subside today.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of Tropical Storm Claudette as it approached landfall just southeast of Fort Walton Beach shortly after midnight on 8/17/09.

The tropics featured a rare triple threat the past two days--simultaneous named storms beginning with the letters A, B, and C. The last time this occurred was in the slow-starting 1984 hurricane season, when Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha, and Cesar were all active on September 1. This year's A, B, and C storms all got their names in just a 33 hour span. This is not a record, since in 1995, three tropical storms--Humberto, Iris, and Jerry--got their names in a 27-hour span (thanks to NOAA's Ryan Sharp for looking up this stat).


Figure 2. Total precipitation estimated by radar for Claudette, as of 3:28pm EDT 8/17/09.

Ana not dead yet
Tropical Depression Ana continues to cling to life, and is now approaching landfall in Puerto Rico. Radar animations from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar show a surface circulation just southeast of the island, with some low-level spiral banding trying to develop to the south. Recent satellite images also show a rejuvenation of the heavy thunderstorm activity near Ana's center, as the storm regroups from being nearly torn apart yesterday. Ana has already dumped up to 4 inches of rain along the north coast of Puerto Rico, according to radar-estimates.

It is unlikely that Ana will survive past today, however, since the storm will move over both Puerto Rico and the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. The high mountains of these islands should act to disrupt the relatively small and fragile circulation of Ana. None of the computer models foresee that Ana will survive passage over Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic can expect 3 - 6 inches of rain from Ana, and Haiti can expect 1 - 3 inches.


Figure 3. Total precipitation estimated by radar from Ana for Puerto Rico.

Bill becomes the first Atlantic hurricane of 2009
Hurricane Bill continues to gather strength, and is now the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. An eye has appeared on visible and infrared satellite imagery, and Bill is displaying an impressive symmetry, with plenty of low-level spiral banding.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to be in the low range through Wednesday. With Sea Surface Temperatures only 27°C today, substantial intensification may not occur until Tuesday and Wednesday, when SSTs warm to 28 - 29°C and ocean heat content sharply increases. By Thursday, Bill is expected to leave the favorable upper-level wind environment it currently finds itself in, and moderate shear of 15 - 20 knots may limit further intensification.

Water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is a modest trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere near 50°W longitude, that Bill is currently approaching. All of the computer models except the UKMET predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn Bill more to the northwest so that the hurricane misses the Lesser Antilles Islands. The UKMET predicts the trough will not affect Bill much, and that the hurricane will pass through or just north of the islands on Thursday. For now, the UKMET solution is being discounted, since the trough at 50W appears substantial enough on satellite imagery to be able to turn Bill more to the northwest.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill even more to the northwest. Most of the models predict Bill will pass very close to Bermuda on Saturday as a result. The HWRF model predicts Bermuda will receive a direct hit at Category 4 strength. Until Bill interacts with the small trough at 50°W, it is too early to be confident of the potential threat to Bermuda. By Tuesday, we should have a much better idea of the threat. Likewise, I would like to see the UKMET model come around in line with the other models before dismissing the possible threat to the U.S. East Coast. It currently appears that Bill will miss the U.S. East Coast, but that a strike on the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia is possible.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning, or possibly this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting extreme236:


Its obviously somewhat inflated but you could take it at face value as showing a low end cat 5.


Funny you mention that as Camille 40 years ago tonight Impacted as a Cat 5 with a Recorded Wind Speed at the Seabee Base in Long Beach,Miss of 212mph when the anemometer Broke.
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You can see a barb with high winds and a pressure of 989MB in the eye of Bill:

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Bill 12Z GFDL final position, a little more left.


HOUR:126.0 LONG: -68.86 LAT: 30.99 MIN PRESS (hPa): 945.34 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):108.79
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Guys as I said before I think ANA will develop back into a TS and have a track like FAY or GUSTAV and I am watching this one close
and Grothar and 456 I think you guys are right but I do not think it will be to the north of Hispaniola I think it will be on the southern coast


My friend in Meterology told me she is also of the opinion it may be on the souther side of Hispaniola, however, the drier air to to SE should inhibit it, while to the North of the islands, the atmosphere is more conducive. She also told me there may be a surprising little twist on the latter advisories. It is definitely NOT official. They are re-thinking Ana's strength and future track as we speak.
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Quoting tropicfreak:
Which reminds me, what was the hurricane that had the strongest winds ever recorded.


the highest off of my memory is Camille (190mph), Mitch comes to mind to
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Drak....

I will post HH obs., but on Google Earth, I have no obs. yet
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Quoting RyanFSU:
Hypercane Doomcast Model HWRF 12Z has dropped the hammer down on Bill -- powerful Category 5 naturally with central pressures around 910 mb.





what does HRWF stand for? Hypercane We're Really F***ed? lol
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Quoting futuremet:
Now, two circulations are clearly seen in Ana. The first one is between Puerto Rico and DR, and the second one is at SE Puerto Rico.

Use now coast and visible satellite to depict them.


Possible based on the sfc obs
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Ana

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Quoting Vortex95:
HRWF taking it up to 190mph god. I doubt it can reach that, not in the atlantic.


Its obviously somewhat inflated but you could take it at face value as showing a low end cat 5.
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Quoting Vortex95:
HRWF taking it up to 190mph god. I doubt it can reach that, not in the atlantic.


Dog and Isabel though were both Category 5s.
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Quoting Vortex95:
Bill already at 90 mph so its almost assure a cat 2 today.


Absolutely no question about that.
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12Z CMC... pretty close to NOGAPS with a left shift.
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Quoting watchingnva:


dont split hairs...lol...have you ever looked at a sat. loop on any given afternoon when there are no tropical entity's...convection and t-storms flare up all over for many reasons...


They don't tend to flare up consitantly around a median area though
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Which reminds me, what was the hurricane that had the strongest winds ever recorded.
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Quoting extreme236:
Bill has an interesting inner core...
yup
Quoting watchingnva:


hes expanding again and attempting to filter out the rest of the dry air...he could very well be a monster come tonight/tomorrow...
very true, i agree.
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Quoting Drakoen:
RECON should be in Ana soon


Drakoen, do you notice the two vortices?
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jpsb....

sorry, I love the sfwmd site...they are right on point and have an incredible history with us south floridians....the emergency management team down here is awesome and they are always on point.

Link

ana rainbow
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Quoting Weather456:
Bill needs to hurry up turn NW


I have to admit, I'm kind of on pins and needles today waiting to see just how close he'll get before the recurve. At his current speed, what time do you guys think we may be able to see if his direction is being heavily influenced by the weakness at 50W? I know there aren't any absolutes on this stuff... just looking for opinions.
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Quoting AllStar17:
456, do you think Bill is going off track a bit? JMO, but I think it is moving a bit south of WNW


We saw the same thing last night for a few hours where we saw a westward movement as well. There is a reason why the NHC releases a cone of uncertainty for hurricanes and not simply a line where they think it is going.

Just because it appears to be moving slightly west over a small period of time does not mean the NHC is wrong on their forecast. Meteorology is still an imperfect science. There may be a day when the NHC can predict with 100% certainty every wobble but we are no where near that point.

An unforeseen change is always possible.
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Quoting Vortex95:
HRWF taking it up to 190mph god. I doubt it can reach that, not in the atlantic.
LOL, imagine this blog.
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Quoting extreme236:
Bill has an interesting inner core...


yea, I noticed that
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RECON should be in Ana soon
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Ana may run into high shear.


It won't....
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Now, two circulations are clearly seen in Ana. The first one is between Puerto Rico and DR, and the second one is at SE Puerto Rico.

Use now coast and visible satellite to depict them.
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Quoting Weather456:
Stored up energy released



hes expanding again and attempting to filter out the rest of the dry air...he could very well be a monster come tonight/tomorrow...
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Bill has an interesting inner core...
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Quoting 7544:


plane goes in in 30 min they might find it a ts now right canerule if the numbers still hold on
ok, thanks
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Ana may run into high shear.
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Quoting goavs4:
Looks like buoy 41041 is in for a fun ride today:

Link

Whoa... that is the kind of pressure change you feel in your joints.. Wind map from the area of 41041




Let me know if this stretches the blog
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Quoting btwntx08:

its mid afternoon


dont split hairs...lol...have you ever looked at a sat. loop on any given afternoon when there are no tropical entity's...convection and t-storms flare up all over for many reasons...
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Guys as I said before I think ANA will develop back into a TS and have a track like FAY or GUSTAV and I am watching this one close
and Grothar and 456 I think you guys are right but I do not think it will be to the north of Hispaniola I think it will be on the southern coast
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737. 7544
Quoting canesrule1:
It's a 45MPH TS.


plane goes in in 30 min they might find it a ts now right canerule if the numbers still hold on
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Hello guys (please excuse me for my english but I'm french) !!

NOAA buoy 14.357 N 46.008 W find :
978 mb
Wind gust 55 kt
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HurricanKyle and AllStar,

I'm not entirely sure. I dont want be subjective about Bill's track so I'm monitoring it for the time being to see which latitude it ends up at 50W, maybe sometime tonight.
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Quoting AllStar17:
456, do you think Bill is going off track a bit? JMO, but I think it is moving a bit south of WNW
it is south of the track the NHC provided at 11PM
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Even though Ana may traverse Hispaniola, it could be possible that Ana reforms or forms a center to the north of the island, in which that would make a whole new ballgame with Ana
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I see the HWRF going up to 165kts! Wow!
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730. 996tt
Does anyone have the current location for Ana's coc
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
Ana may be pretty much an open wave now... but only a fool would discount this. Think about it, this much tropical energy with convergence and divergence and warm SSTs, TCHP ahead anything can happen... I am expecting Ana to make a comeback within the next 60 hours


Regardless of redeveloping, it could bring some more rain to FL and ride up the east coast. Not saying it won't happen, there is a very good chance. Ana has a bright future ahead of her.
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Quoting Weather456:
Stored up energy released

becoming very circular and symmetrical.
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727. 7544
Quoting scottsvb:


where you get that data....NHC doesnt have that... post a link!


thats what i thought canerule as of now she is a ts

heres the link check every hour thsi is first then the nhc puts it all together if it hold for 3 hours

Link
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Quoting Weather456:
Stored up energy released



I was pretty sure this would be more North this time yesterday. Wonder why its not.
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So from what I am gathering there are 2 troughs that come into play with Bill. The first one is the weaker one, and either could or could not affect him. The second one is the stronger of the two and this is the one that will mostly likely send him North. Is this correct and how long of a time is there between troughs?

Thanks.
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456, do you think Bill is going off track a bit? JMO, but I think it is moving a bit south of WNW
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.